"G'day" I said, being friendly like.
"Hello" she said. For a moment she looked at me and boy were her eyes nice looking, brown and capable. All too often women seem to look at yours truly either as if I was an idiot or got the plague, but she seemed to see beneath the Buff exterior.
"You in Palermo for the sailing?" It was what I asked everyone, as if they said yes we'd be away if they said no I could explain all about it. Either way the ice was broken.
"Are you a sailor?" she asked.
"Buff Staysail" I said. "Journalist and writer, you might have caught my show on Queensland Community TV. And you?"
I was ever hopeful, on many levels.
"And you? A journo too?" I asked.
She seemed to think over that question. "I follow the sailing for interest" she said "with my boyfriend, who is late.”
All the nice ones seem to have other halfs.
As if on cue in came this unshaven chap with glasses wearing a leather jacket, who was typically slimmer, younger and better look than Buff, who promptly kissed Rachel. I was prepared to dislike the bloke but he was very friendly and when she explained who I was he offered to buy me a beer.
"I understand you journalists like the odd drink" he said with a smile.
As I said, he seemed a top cobber, Ali he was called.
Then Rachel and he went off jabbering in some language or other that I didn't follow. It seemed like a bit of a bummer from what I could gather from Rachel's expression, but then they started looking at me as I'd seen the farmers back in Queensland check out the calf to be slaughtered.
"Mr Staysail" began Ali.
"Call me Buff."
"Mr Staysail, would you be interested in a sailing scoop?"
Does the moon look like cream cheese? Should a rainbow be the other way up so it's smiling? Should beer be chilled?
"Scoop is my middle name" says I, which isn't true as really its Frederick or Freddie after my ma's great uncle. "Tell me all."
"We have a ... project ... that could use coverage and our contact’s father is very unwell so couldn’t come. We need a replacement, fast. I can't say more now, our ...sponsor... has an embargo in place."
"No worries" says I. There had been similar restrictions about this trip.
"Meet us by the entrance to marina F, tomorrow at 4 pm. Bring an overnight bag."
I was in!